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Wireless Reviews

Performance

Note: The Performance sections have been updated to reflect NETGEAR WAC505 test results.

If you skipped the previous sections to just get to the good stuff, here's a recap of the key components for the roundup group.

  D-Link DAP-2610 Edimax CAP1200 Linksys LAPAC1200 NETGEAR WAC-505
CPU Qualcomm IPQ4018 MediaTek MT7620 802.11n 2T/2R SoC Qualcomm QCA9557 2x2 11abgn WiFi SoC Qualcomm IPQ4019
Ethernet QCA8072 AR8035 Gigabit Ethernet PHY AR8035 Gigabit Ethernet PHY In IPQ4019
RAM 256 MB 64 MB 16 MB 1 GB
Flash ? MB 16 MB 16 MB 1 GB
2.4 GHz Radio - In IPQ4018
- Skyworks SKY85303-11 2.4 GHz front end (x2)
- In MediaTek MT7620
- SiGE SE2565T 2.4 GHz power amp (x2)
- In QCA9557
- SiGE SE2565T 2.4 GHz power amp (x2)
- In IPQ4019
- - Qorvo 3EXE61 2.4 GHz Power amp/Front end (x2)
5 GHz radio - In IPQ4018
- Skyworks SKY85717-21 5 GHz front end (x2)
- QCA9882 2x2 802.11ac/a/b/g/n radio
- Skyworks SE5003L1 5 GHz power amp (x2)
- QCA9882
- Skyworks SE5003L1 5 GHz power amp (x2)
- In IPQ4019
- RFMD ZMW3 5 GHz Power amp/Front end (x2)
Firmware tested 1.01 1.7.1 V1.1.02.000 V3.1.0.12
  Open Mesh A40 TP-Link EAP225 UAP-AC-Lite Zyxel NWA1123-ACv2
CPU Qualcomm QCA9557 2x2 11abgn WiFi SoC Qualcomm QCA9563 3x3 802.11bgn wireless SoC Qualcomm QCA9563 3x3 802.11bgn wireless SoC Atheros AR9344 2x2 802.11abgn wireless SoC
Ethernet ? Atheros AR8033 Gigabit Ethernet PHY Atheros AR8033 Gigabit Ethernet PHY AR8035 Gigabit Ethernet PHY
RAM 128 MB 128 MB 128 MB 64 MB ?
Flash 16 MB 16 MB 16 MB 32 MB
2.4 GHz Radio - In QCA9557
- Unidentified front end/power amp (x2)
- in QCA9563
- SiGE SE2565T 2.4 GHz power amp (x2)
- In QCA9563
- Anadigics AWL9293 2.4 GHz front end (x2)
- In AR9344
- Unidentified front end/power amp (x2)
5 GHz radio - QCA9882 11abgnac 2x2 radio SoC
- Unidentified 5 GHz front end/power amp (x2)
- QCA9882 11abgnac 2x2 radio SoC
- Skyworks SKY85717-21 5 GHz front end (x2)
- Ubiquiti U-AME-G1-BR4A
(Custom labeled Atheros AR9888?)
- Anadigics AWL9581 5 GHz front end (x2)
- QCA9882
- Skyworks SE5003L1 5 GHz power amp (x2)
Firmware tested 6.3.14 1.2.0 build 20170828 3.7.40.6115 V5.10(ABEL.2)

All products were loaded with the firmware shown in the tables above and tested with the Revision 10 wireless test process . Channel 6 was set for 2.4 GHz and Channel 40 with 80 MHz bandwidth set for 5 GHz. WPA2/AES encryption was used for all connections.

The Revision 10 process uses 20 MHz bandwidth for 2.4 GHz tests for throughput vs. attenuation, but uses 40 MHz for peak throughput tests. These settings are enforced by the octoScope Pal test client.

All products were centered directly on the test chamber turntable as shown in the example photo below. The 0° position for each AP had the front facing the chamber antennas. Test runs were made with a few APs on a raised platform to see if it made any significant difference. It didn't.

D-Link DAP-2610 in chamber

D-Link DAP-2610 in chamber

I'm not going to bury the lead and instead present the overall rankings up front. The missing #4 and #5 are the 3x3 AC1750 class Ubiquiti UAP-AC-PRO and Open Mesh A60, which are not in the roundup group.

If you're surprised at the results, so was I. Top performance honors go to the least expensive AP—TP-Link's EAP225. The perennial favorite—Ubiquiti's UAP-AC-Lite—ranked 4th out of 8. Let's see why.

2x2 AP Roundup ranking

2x2 AP Roundup ranking

We'll start by comparing average throughput to gauge overall comparable performance. (The Open Mesh A60 and Ubiquiti UAP-AC-PRO are included in these charts because it would have been a pain to edit them out.)

Best average 2.4 GHz throughput of only 44 Mbps may seem low. But keep in mind this is with 20 MHz bandwidth and averaged over a 63 dB range. This ensures that products that have high throughput but disconnect early aren't falsely favored. The Linksys LAPAC1200 comes out on top for both down and uplink; the Edimax CAP1200 fares the worst for downlink, but the NETGEAR WAC505 earns bottom place honors for uplink.

2.4 GHz average throughput comparison

2.4 GHz average throughput comparison

5 GHz average throughput once again favors the Linksys for downlink, but the TP-Link EAP225 for uplink. Both products, however, are within the top three slots for both benchmarks. The Edimax CAP1200 moved up both charts considerably, leaving the Open Mesh A40 and A60 as the worst performers, joined by the WAC505 on downlink. Note the 5 GHz benchmarks are averaged over a 45 dB range vs. the 63 dB range for 2.4 GHz.

5 GHz average throughput comparison

5 GHz average throughput comparison

For the throughput vs. attenuation plots, I'm going to break the eight products into two groups, based on overall ranking, so the plots don't get too busy.

2.4 GHz downlink for the first group shows the Linksys with the highest overall curve and the Ubiquiti with the lowest. The UAP-AC-Lite also disconnects earliest.

2.4 GHz Downlink Throughput vs. Attenuation - Group 1

2.4 GHz Downlink Throughput vs. Attenuation - Group 1

For 2.4 GHz uplink, the Linksys again has the strongest showing. This time the AC-Lite tracks the TP-Link at the start, but falls below all the others after 15 dB attenuation.

2.4 GHz Uplink Throughput vs. Attenuation - Group 1

2.4 GHz Uplink Throughput vs. Attenuation - Group 1

5 GHz downlink is, as usual, more interesting. I don't know what caused the upward hitches from 0 to 3 dB tests for the TP-Link and Zyxel. Both tests had signal levels well below the octoScope Pal test client -30 dBm maximum rated input level. The Ubiquiti's curve isn't actually too bad, but ends earlier than the others. The Linksys and TP-Link fare the best in this benchmark.

5 GHz Downlink Throughput vs. Attenuation - Group 1

5 GHz Downlink Throughput vs. Attenuation - Group 1

The 5 GHz uplink plot again shows a rise for the TP-Link in the early going, but it's more gradual on the rise and fall. All products do pretty well in this test, with the Ubiquiti again breaking connection the earliest.

5 GHz Uplink Throughput vs. Attenuation - Group 1

5 GHz Uplink Throughput vs. Attenuation - Group 1

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